Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Existence, Fundamentality, and the Scope of Ontology

Issue: Issue 01 • Author/s: Uriah Kriegel
Topics: Ontology

A traditional conception of ontology takes existence to be its proprietary subject matter—ontology is the study of what exists (§ 1). Recently, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that ontology is better thought of rather as the study of what is basic or fundamental in reality (§ 2). My goal here is twofold. First, I want to argue that while Schaffer’s characterization is quite plausible for some ontological questions, for others it is not (§ 3). More importantly, I want to offer a unified characterization of ontology that covers both existence and…

Millianism and the Problem of Empty Descriptions

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Frederick Kroon
Topics: Philosophy of language

Empty names present Millianism with a well-known problem: it implies that sentences containing such names fail to express (fully determinate) propositions. The present paper argues that empty descriptions present Millianism with another problem. The paper describes this problem, shows why Millians should be worried, and provides a Millian-friendly solution. The concluding section draws some lessons about how all this affects Millianism and the problem of empty names.

Happiness, Luck and Satisfaction

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Kevin Mulligan
Topics: Philosophy of mind

In some of its many forms, happiness is no emotion. But there is also an emotion of happiness which, like other emotions, has correctness conditions. The correctness conditions of happiness differ in several respects, formal and non-formal, from those of emotions such as admiration, fear and indignation. The account given here of the correctness conditions of happiness suggests an account of happiness as a species of satisfaction and an account of the relation between happiness and affective rationality or reason.

The Democratic Riddle

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Philip Pettit
Topics: Political philosophy

Democracy means popular control, by almost all accounts. And by almost all accounts democracy entails legitimacy. But popular control, at least as that is understood in many discussions, does not entail  legitimacy. So something has got to give. Democratic theories divide on what this is, so that the question prompts a taxonomy of approaches. The most appealing answer, so the paper suggests, involves a reinterpretation of the notion of popular control.

Reading Rosenzweig’s Little Book

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Hilary Putnam
Topics: Philosophy of religion, Theoretical philosophy

In this article the author addresses the issues that Franz Rosenzweig raises in his Büchlein as they affect the former’s own very personal manifestation of Judaism. The article therefore covers not only the contents of the “little book”, but aims more generally to say something about aspects of Rosenzweig’s thought that the author finds problematic. The article begins by looking at three notions that are often used in connection with the sorts of issues Rosenzweig raises (atheism, religion, and spirituality), goes on to stress the importance of Rosenzweig’s “religious existentialism”,…

Unreasonableness and Rights: On Quong’s Liberalism without Perfection

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Hillel Steiner
Topics: Philosophy of law, Political philosophy

This article argues that Quong’s Liberalism without Perfection errs in claiming that the grounds for enforceably prohibiting unreasonable conduct are that it is unreasonable. What grounds that prohibition is, rather, that such conduct violates independently determined distributively just rights. Political liberalism presupposes a theory of distributive justice.

New Trends in Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology: An Overview [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Maria Cristina Amoretti, Francesca Ervas
Topics: Introduction

The seven papers included in this special issue of Argumenta might be ideally divided into two parts. On the one hand, this issue collects four contributions dealing with some important topics in Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of language: the modularity of mind (the connections between the “pragmatic” module and epistemic vigilance mechanisms), the problem of perception and its link with action (the alleged anti-representational character of enactivism), the nature of phenomenal content (the plausibility of naïve realism in explaining the phenomenology of veridical visual experience), and the alleged irreducibility…

Pragmatics, modularity and epistemic vigilance [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Diana Mazzarella
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

The cognitive revolution, which from the early ’60s shaped the domains of linguistics, anthropology, psychology and related disciplines, manifested its effect in the field of pragmatics with the seminal work of Sperber and Wilson (1986/1995). Among many other issues, Sperber and Wilson brought to the attention of the pragmatics community the question of the place of pragmatic abilities in the overall architecture of the mind. At that time, Fodor had already suggested that human cognitive architecture is partly modular (Fodor 1983) by introducing the functional and architectural distinction between modular…

Enactivism, Representations and Canonical Neurons [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Gabriele Ferretti, Mario Alai
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

Enactivists often claim that since perception is one with action, it does not involve representations, hence perception is direct. Here we argue that empirical evidence on neural activity in the ventral premotor cortex confirms the enactivist intuitions about the unity of action and perception. But this very unity requires the detection of the action possibilities offered by the objects in the environment, which in turn involves certain representational processes at the neural level. Hence, the enactivist claim that perception is direct is wrong, or at least ambiguous and potentially misleading:…

Naïve Realism and the Explanatory Role of Visual Phenomenology [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 02 • Author/s: Takuya Niikawa
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind

This paper argues that naïve realism has an epistemic advantage over other rival views. The argument consists of two steps. First, I argue that the phenomenology of veridical visual experience plays an indispensable role in explaining how we can refer to the experience as a justificatory reason for a demonstrative judgment. Second, I argue that only naïve realism can coherently allow a veridical visual experience to be used as a factive reason.
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